Hemkund Sahib / Gurudwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib, Badrinath - Timings, Accessibility, Best Time to Visit

Photo Credit: Flickr

Distance (From Badrinath): 42 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): 3 Full Days

Place Location: 18 Km Trek From Govind Ghat

Transportation Options: Bus / Cab / + Walk/Trek

Travel Tips: This place can be visited by 18 km trek from Govind Ghat

At a distance of 18 km from Govind Ghat, 42 km from Badrinath and 36 km from Joshimath, Hemkund Sahib is a well-known Sikh shrine located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It is also known as Gurudwara Hemkunt Sahib and is one among the 508 important pilgrimages for Sikhs. Situated near Valley of Flowers, it is also a popular place for trekking in Uttarakhand apart from being one of the most scenic places in Himalayas.

Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib is dedicated to Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru. This gurudwara is situated at an altitude of 4329 m and is surrounded by seven snow-capped mountain peaks. This gurudwara is the world's highest gurudwara and is visited by both Sikhs as well as Hindus. It is believed that at this particular spot Guru Gobind Singh meditated for a long time. According to Hindu mythology, Rishi Medhasa of the Markandeya Purana and Lord Ram's younger brother, Lakshman, performed penance at this site.

The construction of this gurudwara started in the mid-1960s, after Major General Harkirat Singh of the Indian Army discovered it. This star shaped Gurudwara is made up of white marbles and concrete. It is located on the shores of the pristine Hemkund Lake. The circumference of the crystal clear Lake is 2 km and its clear, still waters mirror images of the Saptashringa Peaks which surround it. A small temple dedicated to Lakshman, brother of Lord Rama is also located in the vicinity of the gurudwara.

This gurudwara can be reached only on foot from Govind Ghat, on the Rishikesh - Badrinath Highway. Ghangaria is a scenic hamlet, situated 13 km from Govind Ghat and is the last human habitation center on the way to Hemkund Sahib. The 13 km trek from Govind Ghat to Ghangaria runs along a well maintained path, which is the base for visiting Hemkund. This path can be covered either by walk or by pony and a Gurudwara here gives shelter to pilgrims. In addition there are a few hotels and a camp ground with tents and mattresses. Recently, an Indian airline company has started a helicopter service between Govind Ghat and Ghangaria.

The last 5 km trek entails a steep climb from Ghangharia to Hemkund Sahib. Overnight stay is not allowed at Hemkund Sahib and so it is necessary to leave by 2 PM to make it back to Govind Ghat by nightfall. About 3 km trek from Ghangharia is the 5 km long famous Valley of Flowers.

Hemkund is inaccessible between October to April because of snow bound paths and glaciers. Sikh pilgrims arrive in May and set to work to repair the damage to the path and the shrine.